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University of Utah

 

Player

With the help of his high school coach, George Seifert got a football scholarship to attend the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The 1960 Utah media guide lists Seifert as a 6-0, 185-pound junior who "saw considerable action at an end position" in 1959. He was shifted to a guard slot for the 1960 season, the media guide notes.

Of his playing days at Utah, Seifert has said, "My career was sporadic at best" and "I was an OK player."

Actually, he was more than that. "He was studious, analytical, concerned. Not emotional. A tactician," said Ned Alger, an associate athletic director at Utah who was a coach when Seifert was a player. "He made up for lack of physical skills with mental prowess. You knew if he went into coaching or teaching, he would have a way of explaining things. He knew what clarity meant.''

Lynn Stiles, a Utah teammate, roommate and later a 49ers' assistant with Seifert, agreed: "I could see him as a college professor or researcher. He really had an ability to focus. George was a student of the game. He excelled at knowing his assignment and everybody else's assignments."

Stiles said Seifert didn't get a lot of playing time. "The thing that stymied his college career, I think, is that he had to go back home a number of times," Stiles said. "He also spent some time in the [Army] Reserves."

Seifert focused hard on his studies. His love of the outdoors led him to major in zoology and, he thought, a future in teaching or wildlife management. "We called him 'Lonesome George,' " Stiles said. "He was always in his room studying bugs."

 

 

Coach

Seifert graduated from Utah in 1963 with a zoology degree and uncertainty about what he wanted to do with his life. After graduation, he spent six months in the Army, then returned to Utah to work on his master's degree.

"Coaching was not one of the things I aspired to," Seifert said. But his roommate and former teammate Lynn Stiles helped him get involved as a graduate assistant coach.

Seifert helped with coaching the Utah freshman team, earned his master's degree in physical education and fell in love with being a coach.

"Right away, I knew it was what I wanted to do," Seifert has said. "I enjoyed the emotion of it. At that time there was a lot more hollering, screaming and running up and down the sidelines. That was just the way you coached."

Head coach Ray Nagel led the 1964 Utes to a 9-2 record, which would stand for 30 years as the most wins ever by a Utah team. The season was capped by a 32-6 victory over West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl in Atlantic City, N.J.

Utah never trailed in the Liberty Bowl -- the first major bowl game ever held indoors. The Utes totaled 466 yards of offense while intercepting five passes and holding the Mountaineers scoreless until the end of the third quarter.

Seifert would work again with Coach Nagel, but first...

Next stop:
Westminster College
head coach

 

 


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